WWI Chinese Labour Corps Members Named Trench Art


A very nice original example of WWI Chinese Labour Corps Trench Art engraved on a German Artillery Shell Case, with the names of 7 Corps members, in fine condition.
The brass shell case belongs to a German 7,7 cm Feldkanone 96 or Feldkanone 16 and is dated September 1917. It has been decorated with very finely and lightly manually engraved zigzag decoration which appears straight until seen under a magnifying lens. The layout consists of 7 rectangular cartouches, within which are the names, in Chinese characters. There are also two pictures of ornate vases with flowers, both at the front and back. The style is in a very traditional Chinese taste and quite different to the later Republican style.
The translations are based on translation of phonetic Cantonese, instead of Mandarin. The names are as follows:
魏松芝 Ngai Cung Zi
宋振大 Sung Zan Dai
曹相國 Chou Soeng Gwok
李培義 Lee Pui Yi
王金樹 Wang Gam Shu
惠俊田 Wai Jun Tin
王玉美 Wang Juk Mei
Given the limited number of original Chinese Trench Art and the interest from Chinese collectors, many of the Trench Art on offer tend to be modern engraved examples on old shell cases. This example is guaranteed original and is very unusual because it lists the names of Chinese Labour Corps members. Very collectable item.
The Chinese Labour Corps (中国劳工旅) was a force of workers recruited by the British government in the First World War to free troops for front line duty, by performing support work and manual labour. The French government also recruited a significant number of Chinese labourers, and although those labourers working for the French were recruited separately and not part of the CLC, the term is often used to encompass both groups. In all, some 140,000 men served for both British and French forces before the war ended and most of the men were repatriated to China between 1918 and 1920.
Size: 23 x 9 cm (9 x 3 ½ inches)
Weight: 766g